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Washington, D.C. Jan. 8, 2020 — A new analysis from the Center for American Progress finds that specific actions to address climate change can provide a major financial benefit to farmers and rural communities.

The issue brief finds that taking climate action can drive more than $8 billion per year into rural communities, including close to $22,000 in additional income for the average family farm in the United States. This runs counter to speculation among some farmers that addressing climate change would be detrimental to their bottom lines.

One example of a new revenue stream for farms comes from increasing soil health so that it captures and sequesters carbon. CAP recommends placing an additional 100 million acres of farmland under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s working lands programs by 2030. This program rewards farmers for improved soil health and land stewardship practices and could drive an additional $3.5 billion of annual revenues to farms in the form of incentive payments.

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Adoption of cover crops on 100 million acres would also drive an estimated $1.4 billion in additional cost savings. Other recommendations include expanding renewable energy in rural areas, increasing the number of acres of farmland and private lands in conservation, and using methane digesters to reduce on-farm electricity costs, prevent manure runoff into waterways, and keep methane from entering the atmosphere.

Read the issue brief: “Building a 100 Percent Clean Future Can Drive an Additional $8 Billion a Year to Rural Communities” by Bidisha Bhattacharyya, Ryan Richards, and Rita Cliffton.